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Denise Mistich is my guest blogger for today and she is sharing her encouraging story of overcoming depression, something most, if not all, of us have dealt with in some form or another. Wherever you may be today, I hope God speaks to you through this story so you may feel His presence and see His mighty hand at work in your life.
I am fortunate my depression is now just a memory. A memory painful enough to want to forget, yet fuel that keeps me going.
The days and nights I spent in “the dark cloud” seemed endless. I was almost catatonic. My eyes were open, but I could not see. When my friends and family spoke, I could not hear.
I had given up on God and decided Jesus was just a myth. So I had no life. Death was all around me, in me, constantly looming over my head. But, sadly for me at the time, never closing in. It pinned me down and breathed poison over me day and night, relentlessly torturing and taunting. I sat day, after long miserable day, hoping it would finish its work in one fatal blow, doing for me what I could not do for myself. (Thanks be to God.)
When medication, hospitalization, and counseling failed, I quit. I literally laid down to die. I didn’t pray to die, but certainly wished for death to come swiftly. I suppose this was my rock bottom.
I had reached the point where I was so dead on the inside the world to me was silent. Thinking back, I realize it was this silence that allowed me to hear God speak the following words.
“That’s enough. Get up. Come on, Get up. Why are you crying?”
“Get up. That’s enough. Don’t you know there are people out there who love you? What about your brothers? They love you, dearly. What about your father? He loves you, too.”
“No, I’m not talking about your earthly father. He will not always be there for you. Where will you be when he dies?”
“I’m talking about your heavenly Father. He has something better for you. Now get up, wipe your tears. You’ve punished yourself enough…”
As He spoke, I got up, dusted myself off and stood tall for the first time in months. Each word literally breathed life back into me and I simply said, “Ok.”
I have been up ever since. I struggled at times and still, depression wants to creep back in now and then. But I can see it coming and I remember it was my response to God’s spoken word that got me out of the darkness the first time. The very same, sustains me.
You see, I have come to realize this response was the last chance for me. I see now that my simple yes was the equivalent to Mary’s “May it be done unto me according to thy word,” in The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1. And just like Mary’s response, it would bring life or death, not only for me, but for those around me.
I believe God speaks to everyone. The book of Hebrews tell us He sustains all things with His word.
It is not a question of whether or not He speaks, it is a question of listening and responding. We have to tune the world out, silence it completely and hear what He has to say. And not just once, but every day of our lives.
Listen for His spoken word, read His written word, and respond, “May it be done unto me according to thy word.”
Your mind will be renewed, your purpose will become clear and you will live to fulfill that purpose. Just look at what Mary brought into the world with this very same response.
Perhaps God is speaking to you now through this article. Or maybe He has spoken to you through a friend or a minister’s encouragement. However He speaks to you, listen, and respond well. You have two choices, life or death. Choose life.
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. ~ Deuteronomy 30:19-20
On September 18, 7pm EST, I will share more details about my story on The Healing Room radio show. Dr. Janiece C. Andrews and Margery Phelps will share their stories as well. Together, we will give you some very simple steps to take to begin your healing journey. In the meantime, take some baby steps toward recovery. (Link to radio show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cwa-radio)
When you are depressed, a long list of things to do doesn’t really work. Here are three simple things you can do today that will get you started on your healing journey:
- Tune the world out for a minimum of 15 minutes today and seek God’s presence. (Do not think about yourself, think about Him.) If you don’t hear anything directly, hang on. It will come.
- Think of one person you love more than yourself. Perhaps this is someone you haven’t even met. But this someone needs you. Put that person’s feelings in front of your own and cling to life for their benefit.
- Choose to believe God has a plan and purpose for your life. As He literally said to me, “I’ve got something better for you.”
Denise Davidson Mistich is now an ordained minister and author of Christian books. You can learn more about her ministry on www.spiritual-health-source.com and www.tellmeaboutgod.org. Her book, The Upside Down Heart, is coming soon.
I would like to introduce you to Jaylin Palacio. I immediately connected with her when I read her story. We’ve both been through similar heartaches and our desire to help others who have experienced this pain is something God has put on our heart. Her story explains how she used prayer and the power of God to see her through a painful time in her life.
I have had one true love of my life (other than the Lord). His name is Jay. We met when I was 16, and we married when I was 19. Twenty years later, I discovered that he was committing adultery. I was devastated beyond words. Never in my life have I felt such an intense ache in my heart. The one person that I trusted the most hurt me so deeply. How does one cope with such a painful ordeal?
In the aftermath of adultery, the flood of emotion can make a person crazy. But no matter how chaotic our life gets, there is one source of strength that never changes. No matter how unreliable people can be, God will never leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5). The Bible is our guide for living, and it is the ultimate resource for how to respond to the inevitable trials and tribulations of life.
Some of the guidelines found in the Bible are “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV) and “Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2 NIV). The Bible instructs us to be kind to each other, to be tenderhearted, to forgive one another, and to live a life filled with love. That is much easier said than done when you have been deeply hurt by someone you love. I did nothing wrong and did not ask to be put in this situation of immense pain. I was there because of the actions of two other people. This is the question I asked myself: How do I forgive when I have been hurt so badly?
Forgiveness is the last thing that we feel like doing when we are in so much pain. However, when we make the choice to forgive in obedience to God, He heals our hearts and leaves no bitterness in our spirit. When my world was turned upside down, I relied on the source of strength that never changes. I prayed in three general areas, and He answered my prayers in each area:
- Opening Jay’s Eyes. Jay was not acting like himself. He was saying and doing things that were so unlike the man I married. I could not wrap my mind around how a loving husband and father could leave his family. I prayed that God would intervene and that Jay would realize that he needed to come home. God answered that prayer in a tangible way. Jay came home six weeks after I started praying about this, and his eyes were definitely opened. He even said that he knew that people were praying for him because he felt so uncomfortable in his sin.
- Providing for My Needs. Ironically, my boss was the other woman, so that job ended when I found out about the affair. I could not collect unemployment because I voluntarily quit the job. My husband left, leaving me with no job and a huge mortgage payment that I could not pay. I prayed to my God who provides all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Amazingly, all of my needs were met while I had no income. Once Jay returned, he started a new career that he loves, and I started to work as a paralegal. God has blessed Jay in his career so much that I am now able to stay home by choice. Thankfully, we did not lose the house while Jay was gone. We modified the loan after he came back resulting in a lower monthly payment and interest rate, and we are now rebuilding our credit.
- Healing My Broken Heart. In the midst of the anguish, I could not see how I would ever be able to function again. Since then, God has healed my heart in so many ways. I still remember the pain, but now the anger is gone. I feel so strong emotionally, and I want to help others who are dealing with the aftermath of adultery. I started a support group on Facebook called Christians Surviving Marital Infidelity which allows me to encourage others who are going through the pain that I remember well.
When I look back at this time in my life, I am reminded of the Footprints in the Sand poem. The author was dreaming about walking along the beach with the Lord. She noticed that during the low periods of her life, there was only one set of footprints. She questioned the Lord as to why He was not there for her during the lowest periods of her life. The Lord explained to her that He was carrying her during those times. In the same way, God carried me through this trial. I also recognize that even though we are all capable of being hurt by others, God gives us the ability to forgive. He also heals our hearts so that we can overcome the storms of life and come out stronger as a result.
Jaylin Palacio is the author of He Will Never Leave You, a first-person narrative about facing the aftermath of adultery, the faithfulness of God, and the healing power of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the loyal spouse’s way to leaving the consequences in the hands of God and allowing God to heal the betrayed person’s heart. You can get to know more about Jaylin and check out her blog at http://jaylinpalacio.wordpress.com/know-someone-facing-the-aftermath-of-adultery/.
This past week I’ve sensed the Lord and His hand in the details of my life. I’ve felt and seen Him work in my life many times before, but this week has been different. I’m not quite sure how to explain it. In the midst of the unknown medical situation Robert is dealing with concerning his kidney, I feel an overwhelming sense of peace and joy.
Thursday morning was Roberts’s kidney biopsy. Everything went amazingly well, better than in the past. They gave him something that completely relaxed him. He slept through most of the recovery. Then before we knew it, it was time to take him home. We were home much sooner than expected and happy it was behind us. Robert slept the rest of the day and the rest of us had a quiet relaxing evening.
Friday morning Robert announced he had planned a surprise night away for us and all the details for this to happen were taken care of. He wanted to have some alone time together before he starts the new meds and becomes sick. I was speechless! He had never done anything like this before. We have had many getaways, but we always planned them together. Our time away started with a wonderful dinner and ended the next afternoon with a late lunch and a little shopping.
On Sunday, 3/9/14, I shared my story of healing at the church we attend, Covenant Community Chruch. It was truly an amazing experience. To my surprise I wasn’t nervous about sharing my story. I prayed continually throughout the week for God’s peace and trusted I would be given the words He wished for me to share. Of course I did prepare and practice, I’m not TOTALLY crazy! Sharing the beautiful stories God has given me fills my heart with joy.
I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. Psalm 22:22
After the service I had the privilege of praying, with others, for those who wished to be anointed with oil and prayed over for healing. Praying for others, lifting their prayers up to God Almighty, calling upon the Holy Spirit, is incredible. I asked God to help me remember who I prayed for so I can connect with them at a later time to see how they are doing. I can’t wait to hear how God revealed Himself to them and answered their prayers.
O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. Psalm 30:2
What I thought would be a long dreadful week of waiting for Robert’s test results has been a week filled with divine appointments. Robert’s mind has been kept busy with continued Chaplain training. He has been surrounded by other Chaplains and Pastors who have been encouraging and uplifting, right when he needs it most. I believe this is all part of God’s perfect timing. God is so good!
I’ve also been kept busy, but not in an overwhelming way. I’ve had time to work on my daily bible study, edit my manuscript and enjoy my family. I even had time to enjoy lunch with a new friend. This might sound crazy, but I’ve even enjoyed doing the little daily things like laundry and dishes.
I heard this song on the radio today while heading out to pick up the kids. It’s a constant prayer I have.
My prayer for us today ~ Lord I pray you give us the opportunity to share with others how you are working in our lives. I pray you prepare the hearts of those who will hear our testimonies and it will point them to You, Amen
Over the past few years I’ve participated in some way or another with the Alpha course, held at the church we attend, Covenant Community Church. The Alpha course teaches the basics of Christianity. It’s a place where you can express your opinion of the Christian faith in a safe environment. It’s also a great place for those who are already Christians to deepen their relationship with God.
The Alpha course meets once a week for 10 weeks with a ‘weekend away’ in the middle. Toward the end of the course there’s a healing night. This is an amazing night! I’ve witnessed not only physical healing but spiritual and emotional healing as well. The stories people would tell about their pain and how God healed them are definitely encouraging, uplifting and inspiring.
During these healing nights I usually prayed for those who asked for healing or helped out in the kitchen. I’ve never asked for healing prayers. Not because I don’t believe, but because I didn’t feel I needed to be healed in any way at the time. That wasn’t the case on the last Alpha course.
When I had surgery 10 months ago (I donated a kidney to my husband~again, that’s a story for another time) I experienced nerve damage. I was told, along with many other things, that it was a possibility. My left hip/side was numb with occasional sharp pains running down my side. When I talked to the doctors about it they told me it could last for a month, a couple of months, a year or even forever. They couldn’t guess how long it would take for the nerves to heal, or if they would completely heal at all.
To be honest, I was irritated, but not upset. I figured it was nothing compared to what my husband went through. It was completely worth it because he was no longer on Kidney Dialysis and much healthier now!
God hadn’t healed me, but I hadn’t asked Him to either. So during the Alpha healing night I decided to ask. I was anointed with oil and everyone in my group stood around me. Some even put their hands on my side where the numbness/pain was. When the night ended, I went home feeling uplifted and excited, like usual. I always felt God’s presence and looked forward to hearing how He moved in the lives of others.
The next morning, while getting ready for the day, I realized I hadn’t felt any discomfort or pain in my left side. Usually the pain was worse upon waking in the morning or after sitting for a period of time. I’m embarrassed to admit, but at that moment I did not believe I had been healed. I thought it would come back, soon. Thankfully it didn’t! The next week, when the Alpha course met again, someone asked if anyone was healed. I told them how I had been healed.
I hesitated to tell anyone else. Not because I didn’t believe God had healed me. I know God healed me! I no longer have numbness, pain or tingling in my left side. I think I hesitated because I thought I might be mocked or people wouldn’t believe me. Then I remembered we are to speak truth and share our stories. That’s what helps others build their faith in God.
Has God healed you physically, emotionally or spiritually? I would love to hear how God healed you. Please consider sharing your story. If not with me, then with anyone! Sharing a story about God’s healing is very powerful!
My prayer for us today ~ Lord, I pray you give those you heal the courage and opportunity to share it with others, Amen